Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA)

Apply to join the 2020 Leadership Class!

Join a network of 700 leaders strengthening arts and culture in Atlanta.

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) provides a unique opportunity for local leaders who are passionate about the arts to impact the Atlanta region’s vitality through arts and culture.


DEADLINE EXTENDED: Deadline to apply is now October 28th!


2020 ALMA Participants Will

  • Connect with a class of 50 leaders from across the metro Atlanta region and become part of the 16-year, 700-person ALMA network
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities facing metro Atlanta’s arts and culture community
  • Learn how to become powerful advocates for the arts in Atlanta
  • Hear from Atlanta’s arts community leaders and change makers
  • Understand how Atlanta’s civic leaders view arts as important to the region’s future
  • Participate in an immersive creative placemaking workshop
  • Have an opportunity to participate in the implementation of the region’s first Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan

Who should apply?

  • Leaders of all professions who are passionate about arts and culture in their communities
  • Arts and culture professionals who are interested in strengthening leadership skills and learning about the challenges facing metro Atlanta’s arts and culture community
  • Public officials with a desire to incorporate the arts into policy and programming
  • Influencers of the region’s creative economy

Application Timeline

  • August 26, 2019: Applications open
  • October 18, 2019: Applications close
  • November, 2019: 2020 leadership class announced

Recent ALMA alumni include:

  • Waverly Lucas, Co-Founder/Director, Ballethnic Dance Company
  • Susan Mitchell, Executive Director, Dunwoody Nature Center
  • Karim Shariff, Board Chair, Dad’s Garage Theater Company
  • Doreen Williams, Commissioner, Rockdale County
  • Margarita Moldovan, Director of Education and Programs, Cubamerica Foundation
  • Vikki Morrow, Executive Director, National Black Arts Festival
  • Malika Whitley, CEO & Founder, ChopArt
  • Dominique Holloman, Chief of Staff, Office of State Representative William Boddie
  • Ivan Pulinkala, Dean of the College of Arts, Kennesaw State University
  • Marion Phillips, Economic Development Research Analyst, Georgia Power
  • Donna Jackson, Principal, Clayton County Public Schools
  • Sarah LaDart, Economic Development Manager, City of Milton
  • Emily Lightner, Executive Director, Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville

ALMA participants are selected by the ALMA steering committee, a group of Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) staff and selected ALMA alumni. The committee seeks to select a diverse group of individuals with respect to ethnicity, gender, age, geography, profession, community service, and demonstrated leadership.


  • $700 for employees or owners of private sector businesses and employees of government agencies or schools.
  • $350 for employees of nonprofits and working, self-employed artists.

*A limited number of partial scholarships are available.

2020 Class Schedule

  • Kickoff Reception – January TBD, evening
  • Thursday, January 23rd, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesday, February 19th, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesday, March 11th, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesday, April 1st, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Wednesday, April 29th, 8:30am – 5:30pm

If necessary, (due to weather, for example) there will be a make-up class Wednesday, June 4th, 8:30am – 5:30pm.

Deadline to apply is October 18th

ALMA Speakers

Past speakers include:

  • Lisa Cremin (Director, Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund)
  • Joe Bankoff (Georgia Tech and Chair of the Fulton County Arts Council)
  • Karen Paty (Executive Director, Georgia Council for the Arts)
  • Shanequa Gay (artist)
  • Bem Joiner (President and CEO, Atlanta Influences Everything)
  • Amir Farokhi (City Council, City of Atlanta)
  • Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center)
  • Carlton Mackey (Director, Ethics & the Arts, Emory University)
  • Josh Jackson (Editor-in-Chief, Paste Magazine)
  • Lain Shakespeare (Corporate Citizenship Director, MailChimp)
  • Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre)
  • Senator PK Martin (Georgia Senate)
  • Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission)
  • Julie Rhoad (President, The AIDS Quilt)


“I went to [an ARC workshop session on economic competitiveness] today and WOW.  It was great!  ALMA really helped me feel comfortable doing something like that and joining in the conversation.  I feel like what we learned and discussed in ALMA gave me the tools and ignited my passion to participate more in shaping our region.”

Gretchen E. Butler, Serenbe Institute for Arts, Culture and the Environment; 2017 ALMA graduate


Contact Josh Phillipson

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) is a program of the Atlanta Regional Commission. ARC is the regional planning agency for the Atlanta region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta.